GOODHOPE, Zimbabwe, April 19
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   GOODHOPE, Zimbabwe, April 19 (AFP) - White women and children in 
Zimbabwe's ranchlands are carrying guns again, 20 years after the
end of a bloody race war, but this time they have been declared the
enemy by their own government.
   At the Goodhope Country Club, carved out of the acacia and 
mopane trees covering the flat, dry, west of the country, the
ranchers are working out evacuation plans the day after a neighbour
was killed by a gang seen as storm-troopers for President Robert
   Some women at the meeting object to plans to move them and the 
children off the farms and into town, saying they don't want to
leave their husbands to face danger alone.
   "I can shoot a gun as well as anyone," says a farmers' wife in a 
red suit.
   "You are putting us all at risk, because we will have to come 
and rescue you," says Dean Roberts, local Farmers' Association
   "I won't call," she says. 
   "What if you get raped, how will your husband live with that?" 
asks Gay Wilde, who says she will reluctantly move to town for the
greater safety of the community.
   "I wouldn't expect my husband to be alive to have to live with 
it," says the lady in red.
   The men insist that women and children leave, saying they will 
band together in small groups and sleep at different farms each
   One of them uses the word laager -- a traditional encircling of 
wagon trains moving through hostile territory in the days of white
colonisation of southern Africa.
   But it has connotations that do not fit the situation. These are 
people who have lived and farmed under a black government for 20
   "I'm sick and tired of apologising for being white. We are 
Zimbabweans," says Cedric Wilde, 57, whose family arrived in
Zimbabwe in 1870, 20 years before formal colonisation of the
territory as Southern Rhodesia.
   He owns 10,000 hectares of land, most of it bought since 
independence after the stipulated expression of "no interest" from
Mugabe's government, which came to power after a seven year
guerrilla war.
   His wife, Gay, leads an AFP reporter and photographer from the 
provincial capital Bulawayo to their Paddy's Valley farm, some 40
kilometres away, mostly on dirt tracks enclosed on both sides by
thick bush.
   "Don't worry about her," says her husband, flicking back his 
safari jacket to show a revolver in a shoulder-holster as she climbs
alone into her pick-up truck. "She's got an equaliser."
   But for all the tough talk, Zimbabwe's whites are confused. 
   "I'm very nervous," says Gay Wilde. "I lived through the war and 
never felt this afraid. There is nobody you can call on for help."
   The farmers say the police waved a convoy of vehicles carrying 
the killers of their neighbour, Martin Olds, through a roadblock.
   Mugabe has said white farmers are "enemies". 
   "We want to fight back, of course, I want to save my family's 
life," says Wilde, "But then what? You'd get charged with murder."
   The farmers at the Goodhope Country Club, where antelope heads, 
leopard skins and cricket bats vie for space in the bar, believe
that they face further attacks.
   "It's going to happen now," says Farmers' Association chairman 
Roberts. "Get away from your homesteads tonight."
   As the pick-up trucks pull out of the Goodhope Country Club 
parking lot, children as young as 10 are seen clutching shotguns.
   Mugabe says the squatters are simply reclaiming land stolen by 
colonialists, but critics charge that the war veterans are being
used as storm troopers to intimidate the opposition ahead of
elections due next month.
   The president accuses the farmers of supporting the Movement for 
Democratic Change, a labour-backed party which is tipped to possibly
oust Mugabe's ZANU-PF party in parliamentary elections due next

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